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What are the Different Types of Strokes?

elder care
May 8, 2023 • | Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC
A stroke is a serious medical emergency that occurs when there is a deficiency of blood flow to an area of the brain or bleeding in the brain. This causes brain damage, with effects that may include weakness of one side of the body, vision changes, speech problems, loss of consciousness and more.

There are a few different types of strokes. They all have certain features in common, due to an interruption of blood supply to a specific region in the brain. However, the causes vary, and the symptom duration can range from very brief to permanent, says Verywell Health’s recent article entitled, “Everything You Should Know About Stroke.”

Ischemic Stroke. This stroke involves an obstruction or interruption of the blood supply in an artery or a small arterial branch that supplies blood to an area of the brain. When brain cells that would normally be supplied by that artery become deficient in oxygen and nutrients, they undergo ischemic damage and death. This results in physical or cognitive problems that correspond to the affected area of the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke. This type of stroke happens because of bleeding of an artery in the brain. When the artery bleeds, it will cause swelling, pressure and ischemic damage. The region of the brain that normally gets its blood supply from the leaking blood vessel won’t get enough blood and will experience ischemic damage. The outcomes for hemorrhagic strokes are typically worse than ischemic strokes. However, outcomes depend on the location and size of the stroke.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). This reversible stroke happens when there’s a brief blood flow interruption to a region of the brain. The temporary ischemia causes symptoms that disappear completely within 24 hours (usually within a few seconds or minutes). There isn't permanent ischemic damage because blood flow is spontaneously restored. The risk factors for a TIA are the same as those for a stroke. Moreover, a TIA is often a warning sign that someone is at risk of having a stroke. Sometimes a TIA is called a ministroke. However, a better term is an "almost" stroke.

Stroke risk factors can often be modified or medically managed to help reduce the likelihood of a stroke. Several lifestyle habits can increase the risk of a stroke. Smoking is especially damaging to blood vessels and can substantially increase the risk of a stroke. Other lifestyle risk factors include excessive alcohol use, a sedentary lifestyle with minimal physical activity, extreme chronic stress and an unhealthy diet.

Atherosclerosis, a narrowing and hardening of the arteries throughout the body is a primary stroke risk factor. Atherosclerosis in the heart, carotid arteries and blood vessels in the brain are especially likely to interrupt blood flow within the brain. The risk factors that can lead to atherosclerosis include high blood pressure, untreated heart disease or diabetes, high fat and cholesterol levels and being obese.

Other factors that can increase the risk of a stroke include advancing age, a family history of stroke, chronic inflammatory or vascular disease, cancer and severe infections.

If you or a loved one needs assistance managing the affairs and care after suffering a stroke, we at Curran Estate & Elder Law in Berks County, PA, are here to help.

Reference: Verywell Health (Feb. 27, 2023) “Everything You Should Know About Stroke”

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